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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  August 2, 2011 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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underline that over and over, and we have seen that. we were talking about egypt a little while ago. roughly 900 egyptians died in the first phase of that egyptian revolution out of the country of 80 million people syria has only 23 million people and nearly 2,000 have died. so the scale of killing and syria is way beyond what it was in egypt, but the people elsewhere are quite committed to change, and i don't think they are going to stop and so i think we owe it to them to remain supportive and to try to build that support wisely, carefully, but to build that support. ..
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>> the administration hopes that the congress would do by way of action or legislative action or otherwise that could be
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constructive in helping to not just show solidarity, but to continue the focus that should be brought to bear on what these brave citizens of syria are trying to accomplish. >> i've been working in the middle east since 1980 in a peace corp. volunteer, and i really liked the president's speech on the arab spring because i think he laid out for the american people why change in the arab world matters for us and what it means for our own national security, and the point the president stressed that i really appreciated is the democratic transitions underway from morocco to the persian gulf
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do matter to us. we have big interest in that part of the world, and it can be positive change, and we should be supporting democratic transitions throughout the region, and there may be times when our assistance is needed directly and our assistance is only needed indirectly, but we should look to be supportive. what i hope from the congress is it works with the administration to make sure that resources are available when we need them to support those transitions. i'm going to be very frank again, mr. senator, if you don't mind. i was in algeria during the civil war there in the mid-90s. there was a very brave algiersian opposition at the time. we had nothing to offer them. there was no democratic institute and the kinds of programs they do or the
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republican institute. those kinds of programs actually do matter a lot, and we work with civil society and political parties. those programs do help, and we have clawed and scratched for gains in places like iraq, and the resources we commit help. it's still up to the local people whether it's iraq, iran, or syria or whatever, but we can help. i hope we, the american people, will understand the value to our national security of supporting those democratic transitions. >> well, we want to thank you for your testimony, but express our gratitude and commendation in a much larger scale for your commit as you say on the ground which -- which is a noteworthy and very significant act of public service. we appreciate that, and we'll work with you, and i know that a
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bipartisan sentiment in a town that bipartisanship is all too rare. ambassador, thank you very much for your testimony, and we're adjourned. >> thank you, senator. [inaudible conversations] >> the senate today approved the debt ceiling agreement by a bipartson vote following its passing in the house yesterday. president obama signed the bill into law shortly thereafter.
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the legislation not only raises the federal debt ceiling, it cuts nearly $$3 trillion in ten years and it requires congress to vote on a balanced budget amendment to the u.s. constitution. next, some debate from the senate floor leading up to today's final vote. this is just under two and a half hours. >> madam president, finally washington is taking some responsibility for spending money that we don't have. at a time when the federal government is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends, this is a welcome change in behavior, and i gladly support it. make no mistake -- this is a change in behavior from spend, spend, spend to cut, cut, cut. let me give you one example. on christmas eve in 2010, congress raiseed the debt
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ceiling and taxed a trillion dollars to new spending over ten years in the new health care law. this time for every dollar we raise the debt ceiling, we redoes spending by a dollar, not adding to this. this reduction in ten years is about $2.4 trillion. here's another example -- according to senator portman who used to be the nation's budget director, the congressional budget office would say if congress did this dollar-for-dollar reduction for spending every time the president asked us to raise the debt ceiling, we'd balance the budget in ten years. because of the spending cuts, the discretionary part of the budget which is about 39% of the entire federal budget will grow over the next ten years at a little less than the rate of inflation. if we can control the rest of
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the budget so that it would grow at anything close to the rate of inflation, we would balance the budget in no time, and balancing the budget is exactly what our goal ought to be. i did it every year as governor in tennessee. families in america do it every day. it's time to balance the government's books and live within our means. these spending reductions are an important step, but they are just one step, and no one should underestimate how difficult the next steps will be. these spending cuts do almost nothing to restructure medicare and social security so that seniors can count on them and taxpayers can afford them. the president's budget projections still double and triple the federal debt. under the president's budgets, according to the congressional budget office, in ten years we'll spend more on interest on the debt than we spend on national defense, and in january 2013, the very first thing the
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next president will have to do is to ask the congress to increase the debt ceiling. this problem was not created overnight, and it won't be solved overnight, but if i were sitting at union station trying to catch a train to new york, and someone offered me a ticket to philadelphia or baltimore, i'd take it, and then i'd find a way to get to new york from there. today's vote is an opportunity to take an important step in the right direction towards stopping washington from spending money it doesn't have. we should take it, and then get ready to find ways to take the next step and the next step and the next. thank you, madam president, i yield the floor. >> the senator from illinois. >> madam president, this is an historic vote and one that has involved a lot of emotion and a lot of soul searching and a lot
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of hard work. our leaders are on the floor, republican and democratic leaders of the senate, senators reid and mcconnell, i want to salute both of them for working so hard for bringing us to this moment to have the opportunity to vote. the house brought us this legislation and the senate will take it up shortly. it is my belief it will also pass in the united states senate, but my vote for this legislation does not come without some pain. you're told in life to follow your conscious, well, madam president, on this, my conscious is conflicted. if this bill fails, we default on our nation's debt. that will be the first time that has ever happened, and if we should default at midnight tonight on our nation's debt, terrible things will ensue. we will find america's credit rating in the world diminished,
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the interest rates which we pay as a nation increased, the cost of money for businesses and families across the united states will increase at exactly the wrong time in the midst of recession. if we fail to pass this legislation, tomorrow the secretary of the treasury sits down with the president of the united states and decide in the month of august which americans who were expecting a check will actually receive one. will we pay social security? will we pay the members of our military? will we pay the central intelligence agency? it is an impossible choice that the president would face if we fail. there's another side to the story. if this bill passes, we will reduce spending on critical programs. we have to be honest about it. fewer children from poor families will be enrolled in early childhood education.
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working families and their children will face even more debt to pay for college education. medical research will likely be cut and the list goes on. from where i stand, it is not the clearest moral choice. i spoke to our chaplain before he started this session about a line in shakespeare that i always struggled to understand. it's from "hamlet" and it says conscious makes cowards of us all. this morning i still cannot clearly articulate what it means, but i feel it. struggling with this question of defaulting on our debt with all of the consequences on innocent people across america and passing this bill with all of the consequences on innocent people in america. madam president, i spent the last year and a half focused on
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this debt situation like i've never been focused before. i understand it better today than when i started. i've come to the conclusion that if we are going to be honest about our debt and honest about reducing it, we have to be honest how it will happen. we have to cut spending, that's how it starts. we have to go beyond that and be prepared to raise revenue. in the bowles-simpson commission and gang of six, i thought we came up with an honest answer to this question. it was a balanced approach that put everything on the table. well, this bill makes a serious and significant down payment in spending cuts. now a joint committee is created to take the next step. i will say this -- if the next step is to be fair, if the next step is to be serious, it has to go beyond spending cuts. it has to look at serious
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questions about how we can save money in entitlement programs without compromising our commitment and how we can ask those who profited so well in america, who lived so comfortably to join us in this effort by paying more in taxes. that's the stark reality. if we continue to move towards more and more spending cuts, we will literally disadvantage the poor and working families of america to the advantage of those who are well off. that isn't fair, and it isn't right. many people who criticize this say, you know, you don't read the votes you vote on. yesterday, i sat down to read the bill. it's not that long. i have to tell you the front end of the bill is almost unintelligenceble. you need someone from budget committee to explain it. i basically understand the portion of it. i also understand the portion that senator mcconnell proposed to how we'll sequence
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requests for increase in the national debt. i certainly understand and am pows r -- puzzled by the joint committee's basic charge to find in ten weeks anywhere from $1.2-$1.5 trillion in savings in the next ten years for the next ten weeks, they come together to reach an agreement -- it's a daunting task. there's one provision i want to call the attention of the senate to. it troubles me greatly. it is a provision that calls for -- requires that the united states senate and house of representatives before december 31st of this year vote on a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. madam president, i searched this bill long and hard to find the language of that constitutional amendment because i thought if we're going to have to face the prospect of amending the constitution, i want to know what the language is. this is an awesome
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responsibility. madam president, read the bill top to bottom, there's not one word of substance about that amendment. all it says is the house and senate shall consider a bill which is a "joint resolution" to amend the constitution of the united states to balance the budget. end of substance, end of reference in this bill. it gets better. not only do they require us to take up a balanced budget amendment and fail to include the language of the amendment, listen closely, this bill says "there shall be no amendments to the proposed resolution in committee in the house or on the floor of the house in the committee's of the senate nor on the floor of the senate." take it or leave it. as i say these words, i can manage record --
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robert cbyrd reminding people of the united states senate that one of the few times in our lives when we have taken the solemn oath, members of the senate swore to uphold and defend this document, this writing. he would find it nothing short of outrageous we are amending a constitutional amendment that is not even written, prohitting the house and senate from even considering the change of one word in that proposed constitutional amendment. madam president, i think the language of this bill entirely discredits this effort towards a constitutional amendment. we cannot take it seriously if we take our oath seriously to uphold and defend this document. madam president, at the end of the day, i'll vote for this measure, and obviously with a heavy heart. there are parts of it that i will struggle to explain and defend, but i can't let this american economy di send into
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chaos if we fail to extend the debt ceiling. the job ahead will be hard, but let us hope that we will in reducing this deficit further, do it in a balanced and fair way with everything on the table. at the end of the day, members of congress and people in higher income categories should feel that they too are called to sacrifice. if we ask that of the poorest in america and of working families, we can ask no less of members after congress and those who are well off in this great nation. madam president, i kneeled the floor. >> madam president? >> the other senator from illinois. >> thank you, madam president. although the bill reflects a balanced approach, americans also expect a balanced budget. we need to apply the common
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sense of the heartland, to spend within our means as each family does with its monthly budget. the battle of this legislation was hard fought. we have started to change a 40-year culture of overspending and overborrowing in just 40 days. we hear the american people, and we respect their judgment. they tell us that they are not undertaxed. they tell us that washington overspends. we have a government that claims to support a strong economy, but urges tax increases that will weaken it. we hear speeches from some who want to expand employment, but then attack employers. they argue for more access to credit, but then assail the banks that would provide it. they call for more american energy, but deprive the very explorers who would find it. we need more straight talk and
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accountability. small businesses provide the most jobs, and we should reward them. inventers create new economies, and we should encourage them. many government programs fail in their objectives, sometimes for decades, and we should cancel them. we face mounting government debts. the way to pay these debts is to generate more jobs, creating more taxpayers who will provide additional revenue, not new federal job killing taxes. given the views of our presidents and the economically liberal members of this senate, the legislation before us is the best deal that we can get. this legislation caps regular appropriations of the congress. it eliminates procedural impediments so we vote on how to cut automotic spending -- automatic spending programs.
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we installed automatic spending programs regardless of congressional gridlock as a backstop to ensure fiscal responsibility. this bill prevents a crisis from breaking out this week. it also begins to control automatic spending programs, many of whom have run without much accountability since the 1960s. all of this is a down payment on further ways to bring common sense, accountability, and control to the spending of our government. these basic values are the foundation of america's 200-year experiment in self-government. if we fail, we deliver a free people into the hands of a financial bondage. if we succeed, we honor the promise of limited government that offers greater and greater liberties to each generation of americans so that they can reach
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their own potential. i will vote for this legislation because it begins to make the hard choices to keep us free, but it is only a first step and a crucial one to increase the transparency, the performance, and results we should demand from america's government. this bill sets and important precedent -- to reform automatic spending. if we use that precedent again, then i can imagine an america that once again becomes the best place on earth for inventers and families to start an expand businesses that will provide for their children and in a few cases will span the globe with american exports to each market of the planet, and madam president, with that, i yield back. >> madam president?
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>> the senator from new mexico. >> thank you, madam president. over the past two years, our country has been struggling to recover from one of the worst economic recessions in our history. democrats have worked to pass legislation that would create jobs. it's been our top priority, but at every turn we faced resistance from ideologs who care more about winning political points and protecting the wealthy than doing what is right for hard working american families. that is exactly what happened during this debt ceiling debate. instead of passing a clean extension and getting to work on our economy, we've been forced to vote on the last minute deal to prevent the economic catastrophe that would result in default. i spent the last few weeks and
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months highlights of real life consequences of default for new mexico families. at a time when families are already dealing with extremely tight budgets, a default would mean increased costs for just about everything. from food to gas to housing to sending the kids to college, it would also jeopardize critical federal benefits that veterans, seniors, and others depend on to pay the bills and stay healthy. it would mean more than 360 new mexicans in threat of losing their social security benefit. another 3,000 who rely on medicare seeing their health care disrupted. it would mean 174,000 makes veteran -- new mexico veterans may not receive their benefits, and more than 1400 active duty military
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personnel may not receive paychecks for their services, but it wouldn't stop there. even if you don't depend on a check from the federal government every month for health care or retirement or other benefits, you would still feel the financial pain of default. that's because mortgage payments would increase by more than $1,000 for the average family and credit card interest would go up by $250. why is it, you ask? because the interest you pay on about every loan you have whether it's a house, a car, or college tuition, it's based on the interest rates the treasury pays, and if that interest rate rises as it would in a default, so does the interest rate on just about everything else. new mexicans can't afford that;
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america can't afford that. it is to prevent new mexico families from these repercussions that i will vote for this legislation, but that's the only reason because to be frank, almost everything else about this deal stings, and it stinks to high heaven. as my friend, the good senator from vermont said yesterday, this package is unfair and is bad economic policy. while i firmly believe we must take steps to reign in the deficit, this package is far from the ideal way to do so. i hear every day from new mexicans about the need to rebuild our economy. we should be investing in innovation, infrastructure, and creating new jobs, but we don't do that with this deal. instead of cutting excess and
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investing wisely in programs that create jobs, this package will mean fewer dollars for job training, for jobs, education programming, to create a long term recovery. poll after poll shows a majority of americans support shared sacrifice in this recovery. unfortunately, this package also falls short on that count. while we did manage to protect important programs like social security, medicare, medicaid, and nutrition assistance programs, there are still many, many important programs that will be on the chopping block. initiatives like housing assistance, help for small businesses, and rural economic development programs just to name a few. this all the while the tax cuts for the wealthiest americans and large corporations remain untouched.
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this package is what happens when ideologs bent on nationalizing their extreme agendas get their way. the fracture we've seen among republicans in the house over the last few months has much broader effect than just in that chamber. their staunch refusal to compromise at the except of struggling families pushed this debate and our nation to the brink. rather than a conversation on repairing the economy and reach a simple compromise, we've been forced to vote today to avoid default. with this plan, we get nowhere near the heart of our economic problems. instead, we kick the can down the road a couple of years all the while the problem continues to grow impeding recovery and crippling economic competitiveness. once this vote is taken and the
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crisis is passed, it's all too easy to stick our heads back in the sand and pretend everything is okay. i rise today to say this -- everything is not okay. it won't be okay until we have the courage and leadership to institute tax reform, not just trimming the numbers to create the illusion of savings when, in fact, nothing has changed. i'm talking about substantive tax reform that is the result of a national conversation about our priorities as a society. we have the opportunity to do just that with the commission created by this plan, but it will take guts and leadership and hard choices. our national deficit is a burden that drags us down competitively and requires serious negotiations, not just concessions to those who see this as a political opportunity to push their personal agendas.
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we must all come to the table to do what is best for the nation. i see the senator from florida is here, and i know he's a wise gentleman that has much to say to us. with that, madam president, i would yield the floor. thank you. >> madam president? >> the senator from florida. >> again, i say to my colleague from new mexico what a fine senator he is as is the senator of presiding, what a privilege it is to serve with the likes of the boast of you --
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both of you, and indeed the members of this bode, they are just extraordinary individuals, and we've all -- we've anguished with what we've been through as the clock was constantly taking down to midnight tonight and knowing the consequences. this senator always had the feeling that it was going to work out, that we were going to reach agreement, and interestingly the financial markets had that same feeling as well because the financial markets never did go off of a cliff, even the asian financial markets felt the same thing as we were coming out of the weekend.
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even though we in this capital city of our nation have gone back and forth over ways to cut this public debt, here we are, and we have an agreement. members of this bode as well as the other one at the other end of the united states capitol clearly are sip sere in their -- sincere in their differences, but i think what you're seeing in the overwhelming vote yesterday in the house of representatives that most of the members agree that gridlock doesn't do anything to help the country and especially the economy, and so we've got this compromised plan in front of us
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and later today one of two things will be true, either we will have done what is in the best interest of the american people, or we will have failed, and i think overwhelmingly what we are going to do when we vote at noon today, i think it could be as much as 75 votes of this hundred member united states senate that will vote in favor of this package. i think not only is it obvious that this package is the way to avoid default, but it starts us on the path of getting serious about what we have to do. more than $2 trillion reigning down the deficit over the course of the next 10 years, and that's
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according to the congressional budget office. it's going to cut about half of that now, and it leaves the rest of it up to a supercommittee of 12 members, half from the house of representatives, half from the senate -- each of those halfs appointed by the respected leaders of the chambers, and so it is possible that they will deadlock, but i think with the concern about the financial precipice that we have been teetering on, i think that supercommittee is going to come up with a significant deficit reduction. they got a target of about an additional $1.5 trillion over
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the next ten years, but they are not limited to that, and everything's on the table, so what they could do, and this is a moment that if we can seize it, it would be tremendous, and that is we can do major tax reform. now, is anybody happy with the existing tax code as it is? you know what we talk about all of these tax loopholes, the technical term is "tax expenditures," what they are are special interest tax preferences for individual special interests, and it blows your mind to realize that they will cost $14 trillion over the next 10 years.
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well, why should this special interest have a tax preference, and this one have a tax preference, and yet, we find it difficult as we go through the harangues here in our debates on what is the level of the tax bracket taxation on ordinary people. you know what you could do, and the supercommittee can do this -- they did take a lot of those tax preferences, $14 trillion, they can take only 15% or 20% of those away, and by utilizing that revenue, you can simplify the tax code into three tax brackets for individuals, and you could lower everybody's
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tax in that income bracket, and you could lower the corporate income tax. now, that's a real possibility that this supercommittee could do, and, of course, they could give the instructions back to the ways and means committee in the house and the finance committee in the senate, and then you start to do reform as well as bringing down the national annual deficit, and so to back up, if this supercommittee fails to agree, then there are a series of spending cuts that automatically happen. you know this agreement also calls for a vote on a balanced budget?
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i voted for balanced budget constitutional amendments in the past, and we're going to have another opportunity to vote for one. i assume we're going to have a vote for two different versions, and the version that's being offered by senator udall is the one that i intend to vote for, so here we are with a plan that is not a perfect plan. it clearly avoids default, but all of us agree that what it does do is that government spending must be cut, that the public debt must be reduced, otherwise our economy will not recover, and america will no longer be in good standing around the world. that's the bottom line.
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i often quote it. it's actually from the book of isiah in which the lord is speaking to the people, and he says, come let us reason together. suspect that so -- isn't that so true here, and was is not avoided for so long where reasonable people of good will and every one of these senators is a person of good will. if we can get out of our ideological regidty and out of our momentary excessive partisanship, then as the good book says, come, let us reason together. i think that that's what we've
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done, so when we pass this, and it'll be an overwhelming vote in about two hours and the president can sign it into law, then we can turn our attention back to the economy in creating jobs which we so desperately need to bring us out of this recession that has been lingering far too long. madam president, thank you for this opportunity, and, madam president, i yield the floor. >> the senator from michigan. >> i understand that we alternate -- >> that is correct. >> i would request that after the senator from kentucky who is here to speak -- >> sorry, the senator from
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michigan -- [inaudible] >> in that case, i believe i was here on the floor before the senator from kentucky, so i will proceed. madam president? >> the senator from michigan. >> madam president, to say that the legislation before us is not ideal is truly an understatement. a notion that our deficit problem can be solved sewly by cutting spending flies in the face of our experience when, in fact, unwise tax cuts for the wealthy a egregious tax loopholes are significant culprits in our fiscal crisis. i believe too many republicans are influenced by an ideology so extreme that it promises to reek economic havoc if they did not get their way. to additional revenues became the battle cry, and approach that prevents the balanced
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deficit reduction that the american people rightly support. the result is that this legislation incorporates some policies that are profoundly unfair to middle income americans. seen in isolation, madam president, this is not a good bill that no public policy exists in a vacuum. despite its many flaws, this legislation must pass, and let me explain why. while there will be a number of negative consequences as a result of the bill's passage, there will be more dire consequences if the bill fails to pass. the choice is between a faulty piece of legislation on the one hand and severe damage to our economy and greater joblessness on the other. the choice we face now today with this vote is whether to accept a flawed bill or to watch
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the united states, the globe's preimminent economic power to default on obligations to senior citizens, students, and veterans, as well as to those who invested in our country by the purchase of our bonds and our treasury notes. we've taken many steps in the past three years to try to restart job creation in this country. those efforts would come undone if the crisis that would -- in a crisis that would follow our failure to pass this bill. one of the things that's right about this legislation is it avoids a misguided demand that we have another round of crisis and negotiation over this issue in a few short months. an increase in the debt limit as house republicans demanded would should havely have led to a damaging downgrade of the government's credit rating. it would have frozen financing
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for businesses and consumers. we simply cannot put the american people and the american economy through that again. despite this bill's imbalance in focusing solely on spending cuts, it does contain a mechanism that can force acceptance of our what republican colleagues have refused to accept. the reality that revenue must be a part of real deficit reduction and that fair and effective deficit reduction efforts require shared sacrifice. 2011 is the year of unbalanced spending cuts. 2012 must be a year of shared sacrifice, one in which the president uses the bully pulpit to lead the nation to accept the notion that everyone, including
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surely the wealthy, must play a role in reducing deficits. democrats have repeatedly emphasized this point. it is a simple fact that among the largest factors contributing to our deficits is the bush tax cuts, tax cuts that greatly increase the growth of the gap between the wealthiest among us and working families. today median household income, the income of the typical american household is lower than it was in the mid-1990s, and yet the wealthiest americans, not only do extremely well; they are doing better and better all the time. a few decades ago, the wealthiest 1% of all americans took in 10% of all income. today, it's 24%. these numbers are not aberrations or actions of a free market. they reflect policy choices, and
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too often the choice has been to pay lip service to the middle class while driving income inequality to levels not seen in 80 years in this country. the failure to ask all americans to join in the sacrifices required to reduce our deficit flies in the face of logic and fairness and threatens to increase the growing gap between upper income and middle income families. excuse me. democrats have proposed common sense steps to address the failure to include more revenue and to promote shared sacrifice. we proposed restoration of the 39.6% tax bracket for the wealthiest americans who make nearly $400,000 a year or more. most democrats support the end of tax breaks for the oil companies, seek to close loopholes that now allow tax dodgers to hide income and
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assets overseas to avoid the taxes they rightly owe and to end tax breaks that let highly paid hedge fund managers enjoy a lower income tax rate than the rate that their employees pay. so far, too many denied the needs for these changes, but there is a chance at least that this legislation may finally force consideration of added revenues, added fairness in the tax code, and the shared sacrifice that is so missing from the cuts in the legislation before us. now, why is that? under this legislation, we will face a stark choice. we must agree before the end of this year to deficit reduction of $1.2 trillion over 10 years or stand by as an automatic budget cut kicks in to accomplish that goal. a bipartisan joint committee of 12 members of congress will meet
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and develop a deficit reduction plan that avoids those automatic cuts. that joint committee will have broad powers to review and propose changes to spending and to the tax code and to add revenues. revenues will finally be back on the table where they have always belonged. now, meeting that $1.12 trillion goal will not be easy, but it is achievable. achievable, that is, of those so far unwilling to compromise can recognize that revenue must be part of the equation. nobody should be eager for the automatic cuts that would otherwise take effect. many of those cuts would be unacceptably painful and damaging, but the very idea of those automatic cuts is that they are so unacceptable that few of us will want to see them
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enacted, and most of us will be willing to compromise in order to avoid them. congress used this approach once before. in 1985, we passed grahm-rodham that set for targets and required cuts if those targets were not met. the framework for today's legislation is based on that model. as one the authors of the act put it, senator grahm, "it was never the objective of the act to trigger the sequester. the objective was to have the threat of the sequester force compromise and action." and it did. for example, in 1990, when facing the possibility of unacceptable cuts in defense and other important programs, president bush and bipartisan
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leaders in congress adopted a balanced deficit reduction plan that included significant new revenues. the sword of the deficit reduction act was the reason for that outcome. i believe that any plan from the bipartson committee that fails the test of balance will have no chance of passage in the united states senate. that means that members of the committee must truly be willing to lead, to put aside partisanship, ideology if we are to avoid triggering unacceptable cuts. success also is going to require presidential leadership and stronger use of his bully pulpit. democrats have demonstrated that we are willing to put forward serious deficit reduction proposals, plans that include
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painful cuts to important priorities. with a vote to approve this bill, which we must, it is my hope that we have reached the high tide of an ideological movement that sought to hold tax cuts for the wealthy sacred while imposing increasingly draconian cuts on american families and threatened economic calamity if that movement did not get its way. the era of slashing programs that helps middle class americans with no shared sacrifice by the wealthiest among us, that era must end and give way to an era in which fairness and balance guide our efforts. passing this legislation today hopefully will drive us to make that transition. i thank the chair, and i yield the floor. >> the senator from kentucky.
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>> would the senator yield? the senator from -- >> sure. >> i ask unanimous concept that i give my remarks immediately following the senator. >> madam president? >> the senator from kentucky. >> america will not default on her debt today. in fact, there was no doubt that america would pay her bills. mark my words, america will default. america will default not by not paying its bills or not by not raising the debt ceiling, but default in an id side yows way by paying bills with money that is less and less each year. a nation pays for its debt is three ways. we can either tax people, borrow the money, or we can simply print the money. they all have repercussions. we are approaching our borrowing
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limit as a nation. we now owe china over a trillion dollars, owe japan nearly a trillion dollars and owe mexico. as we reach the borrowing limit, interest rates rise, and the prices in the stores rise. we are already seeing this in the grocery stores, seeing this in the gas prices. they are not rising to out of nothing. the prices rise because the value of the dollar is falling. the value of your dollar is falling because they are printing up money to pay for this debt. in 2008, we went through a banking crisis and doweled the monetary supply in four months. doubling the money supply in four months. we bought things. the federal reserve bought toxic assets. they bought bad car loans and bad home loans where once upon a
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time your dollar was backed by gold, your dollar is now backed by toxic assets. not a very comforting thoughts. many pundits are arguing that the tea party won this battle. they misunderstand the debate. this battle is not about winners and losers, but about the future of our country. it's about saving ourselves from our ourselves. we are headed towards ruin if we continue on this path of spending money we don't have. for decades, america has lived beyond her means. a nation that lives beyond her means will eventually live beneath her means. that day is coming. a day of reckoning looming. that day was never august 2nd. that day is when the dollar teeters and falls from its perch. that day is when prices soar. that day is when unemployment and declining of standard of
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living and discontent and unrest in the street. there has been no more predictable crisis in our history. we've been given all the warning signs. it comes, and this deal will not escape the facts that are looming for us. the president thinks that we need a balanced approach. well, america thinks we need a balanced budget and that we shouldn't spend money we don't have and that when american families have to balance their budget, why in the world would we not require the government not to balance its budget? what america needs is a balanced budget in an economy that grows and thrives and creates jobs, and yet, a ma lay hangs in the air, a ship without a captain. instead of the president casttizing job creators, we need
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a president who will show us leadership. the president needs to accept responsibility for an economy that has worsened under his failed leadership. unemployment is up. gas prices have doubled. this president will add more debt than all 43 presidents combined. america got a deal on august 2nd, but not a solution. what america wants is a solution, not a deal. i hope in the next six months, the president will find it within himself to lead the nation. the courage to lead an embrace reform, the reform that is necessary to get this great country going again. thank you, madam president, i yield back my time. >> the senator from utah. >> madam president, i complement the distinguished senator from kentucky for his good remarks on
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the floor and for allowing me that unanimous concept request. madam president, wee are coming down to the wire here. it's a proposal that has an increase in the statutory debt limit. there are some positive features in this legislation and the senator minority leader, speaker of the house, and conservatives around the country should be insisting on that. there's a clean debt limit increase, and the democrats refused. they held the line saying any flks in the debt limit required matching deficit reduction. having a debt limit increase, the president insisted on a balanced approach in which reducing the deficit by raising taxes. the conservatives again fought this back. they knew that the primary driver of the debt is spending. regardless of president's talking points, nondefense discretionary spending is at historic levels. we are set for our third straight trillion dollar
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deficit. we have a debt of $13.5 trillion. the president's budget give us $13 trillion more in debt. the answer to this is not giving the government more money to spend, and third, conservatives resisted the effort by the president's allies to push most of the deficit reduction package down the road. there's more to hang your hat on, and i complement speaker boehner and majority leader mcconnell for their work, but i will not be able to support it because it does not provide us with the solution to the debt crisis that the markets are demanding. last week, it was clear that the real threat to america's aaa rating is not default which even the administration now acknowledges was never going to happen. the real threat of a downgrade is from the failure of will,
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failure of presidential leadership in getting federal spending under control. there is a solution to this spending crisis. it is cut, cap, balance which i was an early supporter. in addition to providing short term relief by cutting and capping spending, it provides for a long term solution of passage of a strong balanced budget amendment. now, this proposal falls well short of cut, cap, balance, and therefore i reluctantly cannot support it. i would like to address a technical point about the package that raises concerns for me. whether the president is looking to the deficit reduction hearing as an opportunity to raise taxes. he says that he is as have some of my colleagues in the senate. i do believe that it will be very difficult given the committee's charge to reduce the deficit, to raise margal tax rates. however, i worry that some democrats will be looking at tax
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expendtures in order to hit the committee's required deficit reduction targets. now, this would be a mistake for a number of reasons. expenditures are an opportunity for individuals and businesses to keep more of the money that they earn, and getting rid of tax expenditures without corresponding reductions in tax breaks will result in a net tax increase on the american people. the president would have you believe that getting rid of tax expenditures is acceptable because they only impact the rich. that is why it talks about bonus depreciation for jets and yachts used as second homes. yet, in a series of speeches, i have attempted to show that this rhetoric of class warfare might work politically, but as a description of tax reality, it is lacking. is lacking. but is a description of text reality it is lacking for too read the fact is the largest tax
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expenditures to the president and democrats have to look to in order to raise revenue for mortga deficit reduction benefit middle class itemized jurors the most reconsider the example of the home mortgage intereste deduction.uction this is the most significant ofx the itemized deductions available to taxpayers. the mortgage interest deduction is is the second largest identin efby the joint committee on taxation and is not enough for the wealthy.taxp 30% of the benefit of the mortgage tax expenditure goes to tax payers over $200,000. taxpayers with income below 20,000 receive 70% of the benefit of the mortgage interest by a ratio of almost 2-1, basic taxpayers under to wonderedinit thousand dollars benefitio nf om the mortgage interest deduction. since $200,000 basically fits the definition of rich by my friends on the other side of the
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aisle, we can see that thenteret non-rich or middle-income groupt disproportionately benefit from mortgage interest deduction. d the larger point is this, shou however, to the extent of the interest deduction or any tax expenditure for that matter should be addressed by congress it should be addressed through the context of a eendite comprehensive revenue neutral by tax reform that flores taxes and broadens the base.inistr these tax expenditures should not be cherry picked by thee t president and liberal allies toe iy for the joint checks thatevn his administration has written.s mr. president, i would like to make the last procedural point about where to go from here. bak even if congress passes and the president signs the deficit reduction package, we are goingr to be back at thiais again befoe the year is out. the president will be asking congress to raise the debt ceiling again. and given that, i would like once again to address thek
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department to the repeated requests i have made over the past vewerye mk about the treasd short-term position and the t failure by almost every member t of the so-called financialn t stability oversight council or r fsoc to provide congress aboutf the contingency plans in the event there is a ratingsn downgrade on the u.s. debt inin. the future. t custis treasuryo still think whh world ralph cash by midnight p tonight? yiven the limited the treasury continues to say we will run out of cash today and will not be able to pay or bills the same date the estimated wee that in may. the treasury won't show me, thet ranking member of the senateor finance committee how they are i arriving at that estimate. i have not been informed, congress has not been informed and americans counting on timely social security payments have not been informed. almost every member of the fsocl including treasury and federal reserve has refused to provide
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me with any information about w the contingency plan from the ratings downgrade even if the gr debt limit is raised, there is no assurance we won't face ae sd downgrade. we need to know the government's i plans.lear a rt should risebout above politie mr. president, as i have said repeatedly this is unacceptable. i want to be clear about two things. first congress will have to look into this matter very carefully and investigate whether treasury and the major financialn t regulators have been deliberately withholdingresent information from congress, and t if so, from what purposes. f second, assuming that on the road treasury will present congress with another default t date, i want to put them onosito notice this will be demanding at and timely treasury assessment and the government's a cash position. i will stand and wait any debt limit increased demand by anlosg unsubstantiated treasury determined that line.
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mr. president, in closing i wanr to be clear. i cannot support the outcome ofo iati opposition is not going to the failure of conservatives or the republican leadership in thesidy house and senate treated as to what is clearly amounting to the field presidency of president obama. to he and his allies archaeologically committed to ae more spending. fortunately, the american people will help the final verdict on 2012. mr.atch: mr. president, i ask myth fulle. remarks be included in the record at this point. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you and i yield the floor. >> mr. president. some of the senator from oregon is recognized.he >> i ask consent that might be a lot of privileges to the floor for the balance of the pending u
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legislation. >> without objection, so merkley: >> mr. president, i rise to address the obama boehner debtni deal, and i must say it is an to issue that i have just beenr nao immersed in rustling tohe the impact on investment that will strengthen the nation downn the road.xt, certainly the impact on programs that strengthen our families. and it is in that context to try to understand how do we buildhis the strongest possible nation oa forma working families.h? how do we do that?ath. and as this debt deal the right path? and i must conclude that it is th not the right path, and i conclude that for four reasons. the first is the impact on jobse
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we are facing a gathering storms on the job of we have five to 8 million h additional foreclosures that art suppressing the market and driving down the value of house, and having a devastating impact on the beattempt of recovery.hat second, the unemployment benefits, the extendedill unemployment benefits expire duction of this year, aro and the rough estimate is that that will blo result in a reduction of arounde 500,000 jobs. that's a tremendous blow in may and then we have the termination of the payroll tax holiday and that may well produce losses of jobs of more than 900,000 acrosn america.we wil 01d them lup together and you a2 taught nearly 1.5 million jobs that we will face, and that is in 2012. so on top of this gathering storm comes the obama boehner
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debt deal that is estimated to produce another job loss and by. estimates from 100 to 300,000 t additionalhe jobs. job those of the steel take as in the wrong direction, shouldn't b we be on this floor working to create jobs, not to destroy secn jobs? the success of our families ab depend on this. my second major reservationnceno about the debt deal is its t impact on working families through the concentration of is cuts on the 18% of the budget that is the non-defense discretionary portion of the cl, budget. this involves head start, pell grants, opportunities for the children smallest children,invo success, university education for the college students, it's
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the area of the budget that involves and programs that support the success and job training to the country and thaf helps families adjust to the changing dynamics in the econome and so much more. 1 in 18% of the budget that is in where the cuts will hit. und and with the phase one required cuts or title i kutz in 2011 combination with the cuts under title iii, we have essentially a 15% cut from the 2011 march lown baseline. 2011 is a very low base line anl more than 2010 and takes us bace many years earlier so you have a low base line and we are goingi, to cut 15% more out of the program supporting success of the working families supporting the smallest children come supporting the success of our college-bound children to read
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this is not have that builds an stronger america. the third factor is that while our children and head start andt children and for college and dot citizens seeking job training or going to take these lows the wealthy and well-connected don', contribute one slim nine. well, you know what, there are g some ouef those programs in the did in the tax code that actually help the middle class. my colleague is making that argument and the garden is our extended so don't touch any of those programs. we took the same attitude toward to the spending program we would see some benefit to the middle class don't touch any spending t programs obviously it is in a search argument and why is it me on the revenue side, those programs, would not on thergum programs that are on theng b apprilopriations bill. why is the tax bill protected
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under the argument that the spending billswell-connect are ? one simple answer, the program for the wealthy andulat well-connected are in theion tax, and t so this false argument is used to defend the accumulation prosperity for the few, theoncet powerful few, at the expense of families across this nation. my fourth concern about the obama debt to deal is that simply it was forged out of a process of extortion. if you look through thewe onl ho editorial using words like hostage-taking and extortion and lunacy and we've turned actor ronald reagan to remember what he had to say on this. veterans he said this brinksmanshipbe threatens to holders of would government bonds and those whok, rely on social securitynd the veteran's benefits interest
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markets would skyrocket.tates h instead of the whiteaker in they financial market and federal deficitand to would soar.e who r the united states has a specialm responsibility to itself ae ndi. the world to meet itsits obligations. those who have threatened fordec the first time in the u.s.acrost history for the u.s.hi not to mt its obligations which result in it o devastating impact across the nation b those who carry out tht crng a threat did so in the wrong e spirit, not the spirit of america pulling together and the hostage-taking and extortion designed for m the most powerful and wealthy at the expense of the families across the nation. so mr. president, because this u deal does damage to jobs and cus contribute them together in 2012 it threatens to take us back and into the double dip recession,sf because the cuts areren, sucss concentrated on the programs such as education and head start and pell grants that supports the success of the children'sn r
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and the future economy, because it doesn't take one slimline of contribution from those most able to contribute in our society and because it wasor forged out of a fundamentally inappropriate use of extortion against the american family. mrp for rethosise reasons i will opt this deal.tor >> mr. president? i've >> the senator from misery is fr recognized. s a >> i rise in support of therieno bill. t i would say for the second timed in about a week, i've come to a my friends o sn the other side s talking about what we ought toca they were right.o they said we shouldn't bek ofhe talking about private sector jod creation. but i o that?p to we have been here the week of the fourth of july we were heree we had to votes that week onere was to compel the senators who nydn't show up to
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the other one was on some motion something that had nothing to do other things that we should be t talking about. you know, we can talk about whad we ought to be talking about, and that would be one thing, but of course what we are talking about today is the moment thatn we have arrived at, the date that was set by thein. administration, and apparently they were right in speculating . when we need to look at the borrowing limit again, and that's today, and i rise inlimio support of the bill. the deb i said for months the only think worse than not raising the debtt limit would be raising the debt limit and not changing the h behavior and in fact i thinkur d that is what all the rating agencies everybody is talking be the about now how they're going to rate the bond rating in thefford future they've all said and the set long before they talked a f about the debt limit that we are
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spending more money than we can afford to spend as a federal government or as a society we are spending one out of $4 the society can produce, and that'se about 25% more than was spent in 2008 and its 25% more than we spend on the average from the 4n years from 2008 going backwards e way w for four decades, and that's important, and i think this bill does begin the process of changing beater.iness the way that we approached the vebt limit this time wasussion ' anything but -- was everything but business as usual. this is a totally different timn discussion than we have had before about the debt limit, and the country has almost always had that. tere's been on the couple timef in thimese history andrew jackst paid off the debt and there was one other time only a couple sa, times in the history when we
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didn't have some kind of debt,e. and in the tradition of that wee whve always just said okay, let's borrow more money becauset we need more money. this time for the first time, we said why do we need more money?i why isll it that we are increasg that? why is it debt so rapidly? we had a 10 trillion-dollar debt in january of 2009, 30 months ad later we have a for 15 trillion-dollar debt.thecisin obviously that trajectory cannot continue, and the framework fort the decision that's made in this bill says it won't continue. now, we do continue to add debt over the next decade, but mr. president, we wouldn't havet to.he k there's a study of that says ify every time the debt ceiling theb comes up over the next ten years we make the same kind of nex
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dollar we increase the debt ceiling we are goingat to find e dollar in savings over the next decade that study would indicate that in ten years we balance th, budget.befo and of course thatre is what wei should be doing is balancing the budget. this body before i served here,m before i served in the house,al before i wasbudg in the conversp all, in 1995 came within one vote of the balanced budget amendment, one vote of passing s the amendment that passed the te house.e aga in 1996 it camein within two vos of passing that same amendmentoo that it passed the house again, and if that one vote would have changed the 1995 or the two votes would have changed in 1996 we wouldn't be having this movin discussion today. b because we would have a balanced family budget today and would be movinw in the itway that every state bt one has to function in every cat family in america and eventually
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has to come to grips with theeee fact that they can't spend more than they have to read the truth is, mr. president, this ent agreement while it is a ten year agreement is only enforceable for a coupler. of years. i believe we will do with this agreement says this year ande next year. with a i am hopeful and optimistic that the select committee will do ito job and come back with another trillion and a half or more ofcm cuts to spending, and that is year going to happen, that select committee is going to reportatt, this year. the budget cap is set for this year and next year, but t elections matter, and who isiont elected in 2012 to the house and the senate and the presidency will finally and ultimately make a decision about whether this track that we are on now gets better than it is now or frankly
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heads back in the other bill, direction. campaign pledges, mr. president, i think are important, and while i support the bill, i am also fully appreciative of everyoneae who feels like they can't.t and frankly, if some campaignow pledges hadn't been made in 2010, we probably wouldn't be as this moment to become and if ce that's -- if that is somehow an extraordinary thing people run for office and they say that is what they are going to do and hw then they come here and do thatt that is what the process is all about and how it is supposed to wrk. is this my sense of what peppler have been the best way to deal with the spending cuts we would have had more spending cuts if h was writing this bill. but you know the fact is inhat t washington today no one party controls anything. my party, the republican partyts controls one-third of what it takes to get a bill to becomeoty
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law. with and the other party controls p two-thirds and at the end of the day by definition nobody's going to be totally happy with this bill but as the senator patossie roberts said yesterday in the t bes meeting i was in using an old of legislative saying this is not the best possible bill but it'sn the best bill possible it's the of best we can do right now. agi and we take this victory and use it as a way to move forward to the future and mr. president, i rise again in support of this presidt, >> senator from connecticut is t recognized. >> i thank the chair. mr. president, i come to the floor to express my support for the measure before us like my colleague from misery has just epoken, and as everyone else i w heard expressed their support for this proposal no one seems y
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perfectly satisfied with it, but it is inevitable, and i thinkthm that we have come to one of those classic moments in a veryf big challenge the nation faces this enormous debt of whether in this agreement we see the glasse half full or half-empty, whether what encourages us in theote fo agreement outweighs what disappoints us. and for me deposit outweighs the negative and i am going to vote for my hopes about what thise ng agreement means as opposed to my fear that we are not doing enough in this agreement.y what makes me most happy aboutcr that this is a bipartisan compromise that really does turn the corner, turn the ship of america's state away from greater and greater deficits and a greater national debt and in s the direction of balancing the
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budget once more and the direction of re-establishing the classic american values of discipline and thrift and o concern about the future and investment in the future which we have lost in our federalnt. government through the work of hith parties executive andtime t legislative branch of our city have government. it's a bipartisan agreement atc, the time when this chamber andt this city have become it reflexively and destructively partisan and that is encouraging to me that city it is bipartisad as a compromise at a time whenry this city has becomee. ideologically rigid, and it'sves clear to look at our history that we only make progress when we compromise. it's because we are such a diverse country with so manyromd different opinions and points of
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view so this is a bipartisanch compromise, and it is beginning of a long, hard march back to. fiscal responsibility in the country, back to a balanced budget. so, what troubles me about it,al what troubles meso about that ih the bipartisan compromise alsohr represents a bipartisan agreement about each party to yield to the other party's mostt politically and id seologically sensitive priority and in the et case of democrats it's tot's protect entitlement spending in. the case of republicans and it's t our =to not raise taxes. the reality is that we've got to do some of both if we are goingi to get our country back intoparm balance, and because thishan agreement doesn't really touch the entitlement programsurden
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particularly medicare which is grown faster, bigger than any of our government program.ending it puts all the burden of of f getting back towards balancing the budget on the so-called discretionary spending part of the budget. that is about one-third of federal spending. that -- about 60% is the entitlement ort mandatory program. h we have the beginning of a system that forces cuts in the c discretionary one-third of the t budget, defense and nondefense, which they have to do. they've got to cut. but it doesn't really ask much of anything over the 60% that has grown rapidly that's entitlement spending. and as a result, if the speciall committee created in thisinlve s agreement, which is the greatel hope of the agreement i think te doesn't work its will and triggr involve itself in entitlement reform and tax reform and a congress doesn't accept it, then
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the trigger, the automatic spending cuts are also all from discretionary spending asking that one-third of the budget to paveovernm the way even though a small part of the responsibilitn and the increase and that wouldn have a devastating effect on ths national security and dramatically undercut the defense and also on some of the programs under the great. investment programs of thehe future education, energy, etc.., so i really hope the speciali wt ommmittee will redeem our hopesh and congress will by dealing with entitlement reform. i want to say here that senator tom coburn of oklahoma in june introduced a proposal by what take steps to save medicare fors the almost 70 million people who will be on medicare in a decade
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and reduce the cost of theenefis taxpayer. o a lot of people think that payroll deductions in the premiums they pay the the total benefits of medicare. out o unfortunately not so. dolla the average medicare beneficiary in their lifetime takes three oo $4 out of the system for every dollar they put in. we're and you just can't run a prograt will term like that. who picks up the rest? the taxpayers. that is a big part of why we arr so, you can'tyo save medicare bd leaving it as itic is. you can only save medicare, andl believe in the program, if you t change it. senator coburn and i put forward a plan that would save over $600 billion in medicare costs over the next decade, install the solvency by at least 30y years and reduce medicare's 75
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unfunded liability by $10 trillion. now i know our plan containsnd some strong medicine, but that's what it will take to keep medicare live, and we believe to our plan administers that the senator coburn and i are goingnt to forhaward our proposalt in legislative form to the joint select committee for theirs essl consideration, and we hope theyt will include parts of it in social their recommended legislation. i also believe it is essentialis for the joint committee to act to bolster the solvency of the social security. the socl many argue that social security is not contributing to the deficit because it has a positive balance in the social security trust fund.cial surity but what is in that trust fundrm collects its notes to the united states government has given to s the social security trust fund for time that we borrow from it. and of course we are bound to bs pay that moneyis back. pay the fact is today socialot security is running a deficit o,
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a cash flow basis. in other words, the payment into the system are not as great as . the payments and they will continue to dosert that in increasing numbers for the foreseeable future. what does that mean? it means the social securitycial trust fund has to come to the w does federal government to redeem the bonds the government gave social security when it borrowed the money. n and how does our government pay back the social security trust fund? by borrowing over the next two o decades to $.6 trillion the currently held in the audio you plus interest. p if we don't doay something to st social security when we hit thet year 2036, social security will only be able to pay benefits to the extent that they are covered by incoming receipts, and that will mean a sudden shock and painful 23% cut in benefits for senior citizens. indic today
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we have to enact the reform to slowly save social security. and we can do it. i want to indicate today to my colleagues senator coburn and ia are working again on a orpartisan proposal to secure af social security for american's e seniors for the long term, and r we hope to have that done in time to also forward to thean't special committee for their also consideration. so, bottom line, you can't war also have the national defense we need to protect us and in the dangerous world why we are not war against islamist extremists the detectives on 9/11 and will be for a long time to come. refr we can't not touch the a entitlements or raise our taxeso and create tax reform proposals and expecting to protect all the programs of investment in theara future that meanrl so much to
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america's families, educationll particularly, alternativeay, energy, investments in theon coo transportation system, and to be able to do all that in the a rit way we need the special committee in congress to take the next step this is a significant beginning asor imperfect as it is and if i may finally for all of us and the particularly the speaker, the majority leader, the republican leader id the house and the democratic leader in the senate and everybody that works so hard here, coming close to the kind , of grand bargaining that i thini commission adopted the gang of six or six colleagues recommended to us, which i support, and that the president and the speaker, president obamf and speaker boehner were close to but unfortunately fell apart is disappointment that a lot of-
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us feeled but perhaps in a broad context want to quote from an op-ed piece -- excuse me, the "wall street journal" written bo david rifkin, the two lawyers whose work i've long admired. and here's what they say to takm us back and perhaps remind us. that we fill the seats for a short period of time. we act within a system created by has the framers and we do oup best. rifkin and casey write the debt ceiling crisis has prompted predictable media and partisan and dysfunctional political system has become. but, if the process leading to the current deal was a spectacle and three rings circus as jam someone put it that shows sys impresario's are none of a van e james madison and alexander hamilton the messy political
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system is working exactly the th way the founders intended it to i will go toward the end of their op-ed piece.y i the key point has been made somi excuse me, let me start ahead. rarely in our system do theeir n participants, whether in the white house, the senate or the house achieved all or even most, of their goals in a single political battle. but the key point has been made. few now suggest that we canood continue spending binge that is the beginning of the consensus and a good start towards genuine change the framers would be ens pleased at the spectacle. floor. recognized.e sai
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>> i commend the senator fromd connecticut onwillport the remae particulars his closing.on i associate myself with what her said and i will support this bill when it comes to the floort at 12:00 today.tical of t on saturday i came to the floorn at 2:00 out of frustration and eade a speech critical of theer negotiators as we were letting the clock run and had no i was critical because we getweo pretty much had agreement thatct we were goingte to cut. we pretty much had an agreementa that we were going to establish the select committee to do the cutting but we hadn't agreed ton the balancedfo budget amendmenth we haven't agreeed to the. enforcement mechanism on the age committee to make sure they dido the cutting and probably most ty important of all we haven't feeg agreed to the traders on the debt ceiling increase for negot, accountability. i come to the floor today notnet because of fusspot feeling somewhat rewarded because of the three solutions, negotiated to those three component parts, of. this particular piece of, when t legislation, the genie is out oi the bottle in history is about
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to be made. increase, when the trigger was r finally established, it means dn that from now on, whenever the debt ceiling increase asked fora by the republican or democratic president, it would be demandeds there would be sanpending cuts f commensurate with any other increase. that is historic. f that is the first step in thein right directionth of sanity, endment accountable to come and fiscal responsibility. secondly, they finally came together and agreed that there would be a balanced budget to tt amendment vote in the house and in the senate before this year ends. f with incentives for us to vote ngress o for that balanced budget fcing for the first time since 1995, congress of the united states t wouldhasn be debating forcing if to do what every american famild has to do. this is not a family within the sound of my voice that hasn'tize had to sit down in the lastoney, three years in this countrye because of our recession and ouh economy and because of spendingf to read and read prioritize how they spend their money.ry fily balance their budgets, live it's about time the congress of
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the united states asks of itself what it imposes on every familya in america. and as far as the select committee, there was a fear among many that it would only be a needs paper titled, that it wo have the calls or the teeth to actually do what it needs to do on the cuts. putting while i would have done a had different type of sequestrationt i commend those that negotiate this sequestration on putting one in that had enough to eat ae and enough ntyear to force the select committee to do what it needs to b do.h a today, when i vote in favor of a this agreement, i will be votinn for us to be cutting spending where we need to come off as much as i would have liked, butg a lot more than we have everthoa seen d before. but most important, voting for . the insurance that never againca will lead sealing go up, withou an dunebate for the commensuratd cuts in spending. neede that's important. i will be voting for this because we will have a balanced. budget amendment on the floor of the senate and on the floor of the united states house that we have long needed to do since the last one field 16 years ago.
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and we finally have a wha sequestration mechanism ono in enforcement mechanisms topartar enforce the select committee top do what it is charged to do inmy this particular p legislation. so, my frustration that i for my pride in the senate is today. restored, and i look forward to casting my vote in favor of this agreement at 12:00 today, and i would yield back. m >> mr. president? recognized. >> thank you for recognizing me. i'm honored to be once again ono the senate floor. i've spoken many times about the this issue that is before us for aouy vote in just a few this is a significant point in the history, a time at which politics has played its coursemo
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and decisions have to be made. i come here at this moment withh no real joy.sng we put the american people through acu lot, certainly overt the last several months i asked them to follow along as wesing e discussed this idea of raising the debt ceiling.o there was some thought by many , of us that we could use this fa, moment of raising the debt ceiling to make some significant changes in the way the we do a business in washington, d.c.. and in fact, on march 22nd of sw this year, i wrote president obama a letter indicating that o could not wrote vote to raise the substantial reductions in the spending and structural changes in the way that we do business y in the united states congressay, and in washington, d.c..ither and yy say there is no joy fore. me to bee here today in my viewd we have failed to do either one. there are no substantial reductions in spending and thers
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is no significant changes in the an way that washington, d.c. does e business. mr. president, this country said needs certainty and i have saidr all along that we need to raise the debt ceiling. there needs to be that a certainty, ands i said it would be irresponsible for us not to raise the debt ceiling, but ihat have said all along it would bea equally as irresponsible if we raise the debt ceiling without meeting the criteria that i've outlined while we will have a discussion among all of us continues today and probably play quarterback fridayernoon afternoon morning quarterback after this is over to figure of accomplished but in my view it'd important to note that there are no cuts in this bill. there is only a reduction in the growth of spending and that reduction is so small.we think $21 billion reduce in the first year in the growth and spendingr
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in kansas we hear the word billion and we think that's a lot of money and it is and so i ansans will hear buthe that word, $21 billion think mauney, the turf finally doing something significant. but the truth is we spend o $4 billion moref each day than e take in coming and that $21 billion of realized in the slowing of the growth of spending would be gone in less than a week.nk this legislation does not cutdog spending.s while we promote a balanced bala changing the structure of how w do things here, there is no balanced budget amendment to thl united states constitution in this or one that will necessarily be sent to the states for ratification. to grow, andd in fact at the e-
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ten years if everything in thist legislation is accomplished, and i feel we have to be skeptical about that, our national debt or will grow and reach, $22 trillion, 14.4 now, ten years from now, with this d legislation in place, entir $22 trillion. and over the next three decades, our debt will become three timet abe size of our entire economy. we talk about the changing the way we look at things int washington, d.c., and for thesid first time, and i agree with talk about reducing spending in the amount, reducing the growthg of spending by the amount we are raising the debt ceiling, but cg can you imagine a family back i, kansas congratulating themselveo for changing the topic without toer changing their spending patterns? not kansas families when they are in trouble for spending too much money, they cut the budget today
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, and we are not doingoday. that. they don't just slows thesignifn growth, and they don't wait for ten years to see it realized. the problem is today. and i think this is a rating significant problem people will say that we need to raise thera. by the rating agencies and we will be downgraded. rworry that even with the passage of this bill its affect are minimal in the spending bute the downgrade will occur regardless. n dow so,n mr. president, this is a mr time for us to make the toughs t moices as compared to kick the can down the road one more time. it's an honor to serve the united states senate. nothing in my life for the crowe with ever suggested would have this opportunity. t all i am honored to serve kansas here, and i will do my best tos on
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but as i listen to kansans for dos get the last two years on the topic of what's important to them, the economy matters, and the first thing we have to do is get our w fiscal house and orders of thesr economy can grow and people cans find jobs and get better jobs. and while my assumption based ho upon the news reporters the evey legislation that i oppose will pass today, i pledge myself toai my kansas constituents that ie will work hard to see that everw saved occurs, and i will redouble my efforts to see that we grow the economy and put in americans back to work because the revenue that we need to balance our books are not increases in t the revenue we need to balanceys the books is a strong andepare o growing economy. put food on their family table,e education and prepare for theiro own retirement and that we are . blessed with the opportunity in this country to see every
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american child to be able to pursue the american dream. i thank the president. >> mr. president? our >> the senator from new hampshire is recognized. that >> thank you, mr. president. for weeks americans have watched the debate about raising the nation's debt ceiling. i know that it has been difficult and often frustrating to watch what is happening here. but this discussion couldn'tld have been more important for the future of america. we have been talking again aboua whether we would increase america's borrowing let. in doing so, we have largely focused on how to prevent a default on america's credit, but also just as important, rather
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than just reflexively continue to g borrow money that we don't have from chinese bankers, how are we going to come from the fundamental behavior in congress that has led us to this culturet of borrowing and overspending in washington, d.c..eople, and fi have said from the beginning of american people and i owe it toa my constituents in new hampshire to confront the fish use to the to -- both issues and avoid default and finally come to confront the debt once and force all and to change the direction that we are headed in as a decision country. to address only the fall andchap continue to kick the can down ae the road on making the tough decisions to fundamentally
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change the path that we are on p will surely lead to a downgrade streng of our credit rating. it will stop our economic strength and lead to thelt insolvency of the greatest country on earth. while i appreciate the difficult work done by the speaker of them house and the senate leadershipl in coming up with an agreement that avoids the fault, i amf dable to support a bill that delivers the largest debt ceiling increase in the history of the nation but does veryere, little to confront theover underlying problems that have brought us here. will problems that have led us to in over 14 trillion-dollar debt and will which increase us in the ts next two years to over $16 trillion in debt.
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i have not come to this decision lightly.bout i have had countless meetings over the last months and weeks with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to talk about this tssue and how we can come fromha this crisis now. washingto i've said from the beginning that we need fundamental changes in the way the we do business ie washington, including budget ant reforms, enacting a responsible budget. i am a mnge budget committee, the newest member of that committee, and it mm to me that it has been over twoe years since the senate sat down and allowed the budget committee a i budget for the united states of america. d but budget reforms.not in i've said we need a major
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spending reductions and we need to reform our entitlement programs. i cannot in good conscience agree to a deal that continues to perpetuate the culture ofsked overspending and borrowing in dt washington. in coming to this decision i've asked myself several questions.t the first question i'd ask to myself is does this agreement reduce spending? unfortunately, the answer is no. while that claims to reduce discretionary spending bying $917 billion over the next ten, years, only in washington would this be called a spendingf reduction. $917 billn because of as baseline budgetins reduction of $917 billion as it is claimed is no reduction at all. this agreement, we will spend
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over $830 billion more in just discretionary spending underredu this agreement. so there is no reduction in spending. if you just look at the reduction in this year from what we have actually -- actually will spend in 2011 to 2012, it'i really only a $7 billion reduction in spending between what we will spend in 2011 anden 2012. what we borrow $4 billion sustain our government.rowi so the spending reduction between what we spend in 2011 to 2012 is not even today's of herrowing for the united statesw of america. many of the cuts are in the out years. and you know what happens in washington when the cuts are in
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the out years? unfortunately, our history has been that they don't get done.wa that's why i'm concerned about even the $917 billion claim in reductions which is not a enduction in spending. gernm i also ask myself does this stae the size of government? t we know that this government hao continued to grow even as state governments and families have downsize, to reduce and live within their means. a this deal does not cut more thaf one government in march the gao came out with a report that identified hundreds of duplicative programs thatoma, have been here in washington where we could save billions ofd dollars.f my colleague from oklahoma,licar senator tom coburn, he has onbil
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the hard work of identifying duplicative programs where we could save billions and billions of dollars.t yet this agreement doesn't reduce the size of government at all or in one of those programss does it of with a downgrading of unfortunately, i think this r downgrade. and why does that matter? because it will hurt the economic strength of america and our economic growth. our borrowing costs, it willet r hurt our job creators when no hu more than ever we need to create jobs in this country and put h people to work. yet our failure to get ourampshe fiscal house in order here in washington is hurting the hard n working people in new hampshiree and america. the credit rating agencies ander even the president's own fiscal commissioned have said the to
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minimum amount of debt reductioz we need to do over the next ense decade is $4 trillion just to stabilize our debt and to ensure that our aaa credit rating is not downgraded. but this agreement even if everything happens and this congressional committee does all of its work, we will only see a maximum reduction of $2.4 trillion. o and that is assumingf here ever. in those out years gets done, which we don't always have ae pshington. finally, does it change the trajectory of where we are goinw with our debt? to preserve the country? to no. under this agreement we will
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trillion dollars a year to our debt, a debt that is already $14 trillion a year coming and it does nothing to strengthengo ourin entitlement programs. we know from the trustees of medicare that that program is going bankrupt in 2024. 203 we know from social security o that that program is going to bn bankrupt in 2036, yet we haves problem in this agreement as how do we reform those programs to preserve the programs for americans that are relying on them and to sustain them forbegn while i appreciate we are beginning to change the discussion here in washington, , cannot support this agreement.
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i appreciate that it's very important that we avoid default, but i know that we are better than this. i know that we can do more to fundamenta cake sure that we preserve theci greatest country on earth. we need to take on the fundamental problems the chronis overspending n in washington. my we can't continue to say that a reduction is a reduction whenres it's not, when we are continuinm to spend more money because at u home people will get that and mk say give me ae break, that's noa how why do my family budget. we have to tell the truth to the american people and make thethat hard decisions. i know that we can come togethei and get something done here that will fundamentally change thewet direction that we are headed in. that's why i am disappointed about this agreement because itf doesn't do that. h we must do more than of of
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redefault. we must save our country for the sakethe esiding ofof our childe often come to this floor and talked about the fact that i ame the mother of two children -- mick the cementer has used to m minutes.ot >> if i may have one more and minute. goeseyond >> without objection. servi >> i'm the mother of aut what k six-year-old and three-year-oldo and this discussion l goes beyo, those of us serving right here.n it is about what kind of country are we going to leave for theweh next generation, and i know thas i will not look my children inwe the eye and have them say mom, t what did you do about it? behal we have to solve this crisisly i now. i know we can, mr. president, and i look forward to lookingt pleased to working with hampshire to hampshire to rolling up ours sleeves, final. cutting spending, and saving the greatest country on earth. thank you, mr. president. will >> mr. president, i stand todayf
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to explain my reasons for voting against the debt limit increase we will be voting on in just ong about a half an hour from now. this is a crisis that america faces.has it's an ongoing crisis that will neither be created norti eliminated with today's vote. this is a crisis that has been built gradually over the course as years. w decades in fact. it's a crisis that we have certainly known about ever since this congress was sworn in in january of this year.because a e this is a crisis that threatensa potentially every federaling toe program from defense toave entitlements because as we accu continue to borrow more money a, a nation, adding to the already, almost $15 trillion accumulated in they national debt roughly $50,000 for every man, woman ana child in america roughly every 150,000 for every taxpayer in
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america. as we continue to add to that enormous debt, we get closer and closer to the unknown, but nonetheless existing point at which we will no longer be ableo to barletta at least not at ther interest rates that will make ho this kind of borrowing a sustainable. years, if interest rates were to go up mething even to their historical theto e average levels within just a fei years we could be spending something closer to a trillion dollars every single year.efensn as the likely to be paying more than we pay on social security in an entire year more thanpoin medicare and t?m more than the national defense in an entire year.ral p what happens when we get to that point? the reality is that every federal program from defense tof entitlements could seedress everything in an unfortunate a display of fiscal irresponsibility if we continue
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to punt this problem and not address it. that the legislation at issue today addresses this problem by a perpetuating it. i am pleased, of course, that this legislation does certaind o things and has invigorated a nen conversation in the sort of strategies that need to be in place if we are ever going tosai seven or eight months ago there were still people in this town on washington, d.c. who were saying things along the line ofg package, or we need more federal owending of one sort or anotherh they are no longer saying that.w now the discussion focuses not on whether to cut, but how muche there is of course renewed o the balanced budget amendment. w but talk eis different thanwhatw outcomes. what we need are outcomes, what we need is a fundamental change te way we spend money in
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washington. what we need is to restrict thed converse authority granted by the clause of article 1 section eight of the constitution to incur debt in the name of the united states. that power needs to befter restricted. the only way we can restrictdmeo that on a permanent basis, one will buy not only this congress future congress that come aftera us is through an amendment in5 the constitution with thisking m legislation raises the debtas limit by about $2.5 trillion. ee this is a record breaking some. git many years ago when i was in high school this was roughly th, equivalent to the entire tional national debt. now, through one piece of s legislation, we are increasing,y expanding our already hugeperm ut and it doesn't contain any make permanent binding structural spending reform t mechanisms ofh the sort that would be necessars to make sure that we patte get l this problem to make sure that we andth the problem that we hao
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created through the congress reckless pattern of the perpetual deficit r spending.amd that's why i have insisted since before i was even sworn intorati office that beforeon we raise te debt limit, we need to pass a ad balanced budget amendment and submit to the states for state ratification. nearly every state balances its budget each and every year. coress d it isn't news when a state doesi this. i look forward to the time when, it will no longer the mid to the news when the congress does thee same. now there are significant cuts e discussed in this legislation a and proposed. i want to be clear on one thinga although these cuts are large ob the long-term basis on ases short-term basis they are less so. on a short-term basis within th, next year, this proposes to cutp about $7 billion command of the fiscal year 2012, this some dispute this number and suggest as some of my colleaguen
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have already that in fact theoid fiscal year 2012 budget will doe spend $23 billion more, others o concede the point and say let's assume for purposes of this discussion that it does in fact cut $7 billion from what roughly otherwise would be the new deficit spending. pofolio $7 billion is roughly equivalen, to the amount of debt that we ed have added to the total debtnnod portfolio just in the last 30 hours or so, roughly the pergola time that has elapsed since this legislation was announced late t sunday night on until this very moment. stated differently, this amounts to less than .2% of a cut. i do believe that we have made progress and i commend our leadership for working so hard to focus the discussion on the need for cuts. we have, unfortunately, had
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democratic leadership in this body that has been bent on delaying the announcement of any deal as long as possible and preventing legislation like the cut, cap and balance act from coming to the floor where it could have been stowdged an open debate, discussion, and amendment process as well it should have been. i regret the fact that it didn't come to that. ould havehat. an open debate discussion andpr, amendment process as well it wou should've been. i regret the fact it didn't come to that.fial r the fact that legislation, which could have solved this problem, could have and would've put us on a path towards fiscal responsibility are matured ending this problem once and for all was not even allowed itsto day. terms wit it stayh in the u.s. senate to e debated and discussed theint is merits. at the end of the day, we have to come to terms with the fact that the course we're on from a fiscal standpoint is utterlyntri unsustainable. adding more debt tobute our alry
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bursting portfolios that is only going to contribute to thise problem unless of course weamerf forward and adopt a balanced budget amendment. i believe the time to do what is right now. the american people overwhelmingly support this topt the tunehe of about 75%. to my great astonishment, some n of my colleagues and even the president of the united states have suggested this is somehow g radical idea, nat that is so radical as to be absurd and not worth need considering, even thh three out of four americans believes we need a balanced budget amendment. i want to close by referring too a quote by a man named william o morris who gave us the following quote beauty said one man with d an idea in his head is in danger of being considered in that andn two men with this same idea and comment may be foolish but can hardly be1,00 de0nied. bins 10 men sharing and ideas beginb.
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to act. 100 draw attention i as fanatic, 1000 in society begins to an tremble. 100,000 in hundred thousand others were abroad in the cause has decreased tangible and real. myob 100,000? why not 100 million in peace upon the earthquakes you and i do agree together, it is we whov have to answer that question. it's not just one or two of us to had this idea in our headpef that we need to restrict congress inspiring power because that power has been so severelyh abused over such a prolonged periodag of time. of it is three out of every fouroin americans. and i urge each of my colleagueo in the senate in each of our counterparts in the house of representatives to join the american people and at least the same proportion in supporting the idea that never again should we raise the debt limit without a balanced budget amendment inat place. whi
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this is a permanent long-term problem. it requires a permanent solution. the only permanent solution is that which involves an amendment to the constitution. thank you, mr. president. >> mr. president. >> senator from arizona. >> i will support this legislation with very seriousmie reservations. et cetera the premisepiece of ls debt ceiling extension is not the one piece of legislation that will change everythingus wrong in washington. road it is at best a reversal of previous tax and policy, with i, some movement down the route to fiscal t responsibility. debt, the bill sets us on a course that if we adhere to it will eventually enable us to balance a budget, track downnd our debtc put entitlement programs on a t sustainable path and create the conditions for strong economic
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hoe growth, but it could've been tad better is absolutely true as a substantive matter. but politically, the white house and attacks democrats in congress would not agree to mors and they control this chamber and the executive branch of invs government. a second premise of republican leadership is that the united i. government must pay its bills, not just to investors in u.s.e bonds, but to fulfill commitments to the american people. from social security to nationa. defense, we have obligations that republicans insist must bef met. the default was not an option. i that meant agreeing to terms with that extension is satisfied neither parody. a fair premise for republicansy is that we must focus on jobge creation and restoring a health' economy. that meant not only constraining
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greateron spending to accountability, that preventing job killing tax hikes. what mms, we succeeded.e, i and contrary to some public talk, there's nothing in the legislation that would cause future tax increases. if there were, i wouldn't support this legislation. and so with this legislation would d prevent attacks increases demanded by the president, cut e spending over the next 10 years and cr weated a mechanism to address additional savings, especially in programs like security, all of which willfor e eventually default on their commitmentss without reform and we averted a credit crisis for the united states government. pd here is why have such serious reservations about the legislation. that it in an effort to extract a pound of flesh from republicans, the e white house, frustrated that he couldn't
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massive cuts in defense spending, some $350 billion byri white house reckoning over thedf next 10 years, potentially $18 billion less than the president's the white own budger next year. $492 moreover, the white house insisted that theer defense setb software and additional $492 billion in cuts over the or same period at the select govt committee set up by the billhe fails to produce or congress y refuses to adopt recommendations on how to cut overalln governmet spending to meet the goals of the bill.percentathrown mind you, these cuts and defense are not the result of careful planning and totally analysis. they were just arbitrary percentages thrown out of actual defense requirements. worse, the cuts that would be
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triggered if the community recommendations failed were intentionally designed to be so large, so unimaginable, soo irresponsible or congress woulde be in a bid to approve the select city recommendations. the truth armageddon was used ti carry to raise the scheme. can you imagine anything more irresponsible for the commander-in-chief of the military to promote -- not just promote, but insist on denying distraction at the u.s. military as a means to trackgress mu ande congress? the theory with the consequences of inaction must be so severe te that no responsible senator or reco representative could tear amm lousy results, thaten o we woule forced to accept the select committee recommendations on the ngre u.s. military estimated. this should never have beenhe agreed to by members of comes congress, but most of all,
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should never havevi been promoti by the president. to me it comes close to violating their oath of office on the presidents respond it. abilities as commander-in-chief but it is done. my vote will notf change. d the best way for me to avoid this armageddon is to stay in this light and if necessary,hen urge my colleagues to disregard this provision. 60 senators would have to agree. but i cannot imagine senators and even the president when faced with the actual versus the hypothetical choice of knowingly destroying our military capacity to protect military of the the s would allow it to have been whe we would have the ability to prevent it. as reckless as this president is to even, plate, much less imagit threatened to incapacitatehe our military, i cannot imagine that thehe american people would have such action. so as i evaluate work of the.
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committee, if anyone says to mel remember the trigger is armageddon for the u.s.his military. our response will be, let's take that debate to the american people in the undecided.ecurity. the thought that this triggerses for senators to make unwise concessions underestimates the american people's commitments te their own security. the white house is miscalculated not work, even this presidenton could not implement it.ourney so, because they cannot default on our commitments, because we have to start somewhere on her journey towards fiscal sanity and this is a good start, because we have to focus on job creation, not more taxes that will kill job creation, we should adopt this legislation.ey but because of its irresponsible and dangerous, even cavalier treatment of
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we will need to work very hard to restore spending necessary for national security and commi: to reject t armageddon insertedn mr. this bill by the whitemc house., >> over the past few weeks, ther congress has been engaged on at very important debate. it may have been messy.osite it might have appeared to sound like their government wasn't saw working, but in fact, the opposite was true. washe the push and pull american sought in washington these pastf few weeks was not gridlock. it was love the people working a itself out in a political system that was neverisn't to be pret. one reason america is in our defacing the kind of crisis we see in europe is that presidents and maturity parties here can't just bring about change on abou.
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tme.and at's trends as much if they might like to from time to time. for i that's the checks and balances is all about. people and that is the kind of balance americans voted for november. a the american people sent a wavee of new lawmakers to congress in last november's election with a very clear mandate. to put our nation's fiscal houst in order. those of us who have been int fighting the big government is l democratic majorities in congress welcomed them into our acts. together we thought the line. and slowly but surely, weth havp started turning things around. that's what those who think no. problem is too vague or too small for government to solve te our very worried right now.f go.
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they're afraid the american people may win the larger debate we've been having around here about the size and scope of government. 't can and the spending spree may accoy actually -- actually becoming good. they can't bgteonl.ieve those wo stood up for limited governmento and accountability have actually changed the terms of the debate here in washington. but today, they have no choice c but to admitom it.ike, now, i know for some of our colleagues, reform isn't coming as fast as they would play. stad and i certainly understand their frustration. i too wish we could stand here today and not in something muchu more ambitious, but i'mand i encouraged by the thought that these new senators will help job and i want to assure you today that although you may not actually won o this debate.
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in a few minutes, the senate will vote on legislation that represents a new way of doing ct first, it creates an entirely aa new template for raising the nation's debt limit, one of ther most important things about thie legislation is the fact that never again will any president from either party be allowed to raise the debt ceiling without being held accountable for it bd the american people.h and, in addition to that, without having to engage in theg kind of debate we've just comenr through. because you see, mr. president,e raising adesso and again that for us to focus on the subject raised by their requests to reach the debt ceiling. so we will be back at it, a
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probably in the early part of this 2013 to make progress towards it reducing the size and scope of government and reducing or spent it. this kind of discussion is something to dread. it is something to welcome.d to while the president may not have particularly enjoyed this debat- we just went through, it was a debate that washington very much as for the particulars, this legislation caps spending over the next 10 mechanism that ensures that one these cuts actually stay at. it protects the american people omt c and would've affected every single one of them in one way or another. it puts in place a powerful joint committee that will recommend further cuts in much-needed reforms. it doesn't include a dime in job killing tax sites when ouractuea economy can least afford them.
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crucially, it infers the balanct budget amendment continues andte actually get the vote. this is no small feat when you consider that just last week thh president was still demanding tax hikes as part of any debt ceiling increase and as recently as may the president's top economic adviser said it was tnb closed in streams, end quote for anybody to even consider tying v the debt ceiling to spending sut.agreei a it is worth noting two and halfo months later that adviser is nof longer working at the whiteendig house and the green as a condition of raising the debt ceiling to trillions ot dollars in spending cuts. so let me be clear. the legislation the senate is first step. but it is a crucial step towardh
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achievement given the lengths to which some in washington have gone to ensure a status quo that is suffocating growth, crippling the economy and tha imperilinght entitlements. in now we've had to settle for less than we wanted. but what we have achieved is in no way insignificant. we did it because we have something democrats didn't haveh republicans may only control one half of one third of thet government in washington, that the american people agreed with5 'r on the nature of the problemu in other government didn't accumulate $14.5 trillion inn, e debt because it didn't have enough. and if you're spending yourself into oblivion, the solution thii isn't to send more. it is to spend less. as neither side got everything itrm wanted in these negotiations, a but i think it was the view of those for my party that we try s
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to get as much spending cuts as the code from the government weu didn't control. our view as we would get as much spendinge reductionistic herd from a government we didn'tld control and that's what we'vete. done with this bipartisanadd agreement. anoth $ this is not the deficit reduction package i would'vecero written.te. the fact we're on the page to add another $7 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years the lyrtainly nothing to celebrate.t but getting it there for more than 9 trillion thean president can do need to defend untilrent recently is no deceit eitherutig been slowing down the big time government freight train from its current trajectory will give us the time we need to work towards neede a real solution oe the american people time they need to have their voices heard. so much work remains.ommitt to that end, our first step will
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be to sit on the powerful costhe amerg committee are serious people who put the best interest of the american people and the principles that we before we tho throughout this day first. before removed the next step,ule and like to say word about some of those who made today's voteig possible and i'll start theth dd speaker. it should be noted that he helped set the terms of this debate by insistinghan early on. any debt limit and includes cutd that are greater than the amount of debt limit would be raised. a the speaker and i work shoulder to shoulder in the past fewere t months and it's certainly been . pleasure. you've been a real partner and e assure my colleagues we wouldn't be here without him.yepubli so i want to thank the speaker in the entire republican leadership in the house forir standing on principle and i want to think by republican nklleagues in the senate for toa
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their determination, ideas and support. may i want to thank my friend the majority leader in getting this over the finish line. we may disagreer a lot, but iet hope everyone realizes it's never, ever personal. i think today we can prove when it comes down to it, we'll get t together in the greater good is at stake. i also like to thankho the president and the vice presidenn and everyone on our stats to believe as we did that despite our many differences between all agree that america would not sis default on its obligations.ted o it is a testament to the defau, goodwill on both sides that weed were able to reach this agreement able in time. neither side wanted to see thete government defaults and i am pleased we were able to work together to avoid it.
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now, this still does not solveel the problem, but it at least forces washington to admit thats it has one. the bill doesn't solve the problem, but in forces one and it puts us on a path tob recovery, we're nowhere near weh need to be in terms of restoring balance there should be absolutely no doubt in about tw we have changed the debate, t headed in thehe right directionn and people are wondering how it happened. sta well, it happened because the american people demandedrt it. so then the end, we're back to where we started. i b the only reason we're talkingoua about passing legislation that grants them the size of washington said of growing it is because the american people believed they could have a real government. they spoke out and we heard them
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and it's only through their process and lawmakers willing to listen to theasm that we will s, complete the work we gun. wha i as winston churchill once said, courageous but it takes to stand up and speak. courage is also what it takes tt sit down and listen. particur i can't think of a better way to sum up this last year and in particular, these last few months right here in washingtoni didty a the american people want to see accountability and cooperations in washington and want to seest were working together to get our fiscal house in order.ay to this legislation doesn't get us there, but for the first time in a very long time, i think we can say to the american people that we are finally facing in the right direction and for that we
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have been to thank.he speenine mr. president.orld >> majority leader, senator from nevada.ssed a >> the eyes of america and the g world have been watching washington this past week very closely. d and what they witnessed a lot or political wrangling, they alsoll heportant decisions and avoidedt default on my desk is so constrained to all of us for such a long beard of time. left, our country was literally on the verge to of tears, the brink ofs one day left we were able to per avert that disaster. this compromise we have reached is not perfect and i feel it isv important.want t this president, can we haveodise order, please clickal o >> the federal please come to
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ibited order. sen we want to make sure anyroceed disturbance or manifestation ofd approval or disapproval is prohibited under the senators rules. the leader may proceed. >> i appreciate the kind words that my house stated on the floor could have gone to knownel him and speaker a lot better din this past month or two, especially the speaker. and even though i disagree be is the speaker's legislation took with no bipartisan support atha all, it it is not the product we have here. the product we have here is oneu oftlin compromise.rough the winners -- this principally one winner throughout this and it's the american people. we settled for less than t repue wanted.promise so did my friend, later the let republican settled for less than they wanted, but that is the wat legislation works. that's the way compromise works.
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i cannot let go withouthis -- responding to my friend in his own way about the new senatorsst and new congress who came here.f i welcome them all, but a resuln of the tea party direction the last few months has been very, very disconcerting and very unfair to the american people. it stopped us from arriving ande also, mr. president, i recognize we have to do more. of course we need to divide thae is why we have the joint committee set up that i'll talk talk about in just a minute. ret the american people are not impressed with no new revenue. independents andcont republicane think this arrangement we havede just done is unfair because thet
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richest of the rich have contributed nothing to this. the burden of what is taking the poor. my friend talks about no new taxes.nomy s mr. president, if they are three was right, these huge taxes butd to place during the bush years,n the economy should be driving. these tactics have not helped the economy. borrod 8 million job strain the bushcus eight years, two wars startedd, unfunded, all borrowed money, if the tax cut were so good, the yn economy should be thriving. if you go back to the prior eight years, during presidentntk clinton's administration, 23 million new jobsfi were created. evaporad and office in surplus over 10 years of $7 that is evaporated an hour
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gi the compromise we reached is int perfect and we're going to send legislation to the president not today that will not only avert a r default, but make significant deficit reductions. is that enough? enough. wonough. this legislation the player economy with stability appreciate desperately needs and to assure congress we will continue i came e.rking and i said thiscommte yesterday. i'll say it again. i appreciate my friend can't republican leader put in his arms around the ichat i came up with to have this joint2. committee. do they worked in decades past. there's a reason it can't work now. nothe that each leader will appoint a committee of 12. has t weo need to do something becausd the trigger that kicks in is very, very difficult. we need to do this and it has to be one that's be a the american people demand fairness. it can't be more cuts to u programs that have made this country what it is. llio they must be a sharing of
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sacrifices. it's really unfair for repub billionaires and renue, multimillionaires not to betoo contributing to the arrangement we just made. but they're not.eed my friends, the republicans held firm and no revenue, which is really too bad. that. we need to have a fair approach to this joint committee and i'm confident we will doicks that. s the one reason we're going to do go that is because the trigger openanism comesin in. now, this committee that was going to have be appointed, the numbers they say here. we've had too much talk the last two days of republicans come as early as thiser morning, sayinga there will be no revenue.his that's not going to have been. otherwise the trigger is going to kick in. the only way we can arrive at a fair arrangement for the dthe american people is to have equal
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sharing.ove forwa it's going to be painful.rd each party as they dothere the t thing is going to be painful foo them because to be fair, we have to move forward. there has to be people spending cuts. there has tose be revenue that e matches that. owe legislation can be send it n to the president and the work of so congress has not returned to its most important job,nt, tthig jobs. mr. president, there were thingt we can do to create jobs. we know that. if we pass that appear quickly to pacbell, 270,000 jobs were me told the legislation willther te create. so while mode choose the first time i get back in summer breakt and move to the patent bill tha legislationt'. ve spoke there were other things he canie do, thinks that there can bee barred partisan nation and the nature we can do.h to
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we have a highway bill that's due. i spoke to the chairman of the finance committee today. there are ways we can find that that's in keeping with the bipartisan approaches. the important part -- the important thing we have, i t mr. president with what these infrastructure jobs we need so, so very much is that for every billion dollars we spend an jobs infrastructure, we take 47,500 high-paying jobs. a that.t ds. now, these are jobs that you have a billion dollars and have all these jobs are jobs that federal government does. that ad these are money that goes to th. private or congress, bridges ans dams. n you need to do that and we canat do that. this nation.aken roo we need to do that. i am optimistic and hopeful that the spirit of compromise to convert in washington over the
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last several days will america s i hope my republican colleagues will join forces with democratss to bring america back to work. and not be looking for winners and political parties come up aw website looking for winners within the americane people.cutg we've made progress towards cutting the goal. jobs we made progress towards our goal of cutting the deficit disney said still faces a jobs deficit as well. there's nove issue more to the j american people than jobontinue creation.obs our tell every american who chooses to work in time r to job, our jb is u undone. were going to continue making jobs are number one priority. we asked republicans join with us in this regard.s ther eli stephens had once called politics quote the peoples it'te business, the most important business there is.nothg is so mr. president, it's time to e get back to doing the people's business, creating jobs. nothing is more important than
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that. mr. president, i asked the a's in a semi-motion to concur. >> southend, it a, nine.
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>> eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, air lift. these are the states to make a world in which all of god's children can live are to go into the dark. we must either love each other or we must die. >> vote for president johnson on november 3rd. z????
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>> the senate health committee held a hearing today looking at the rising rate of hope insurance premiums since the passage of the 2010 kerala beginning september 1st, state insurance regulators will be able to review an insurance premium rate with an increase of 10% or more. medicare and medicaid services insurance direct or, steve
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larsen testified these provisions appear powerful tool to state regulators by allowing them to reject or modify any rate increase excessive or unjustified. this is two hours and 10 minutes. >> the u.n. is somehow performed in empowering states to consumers. in a decade before the affordable care was passed, relentlessly increasing health-insurance premiums post a heavy tax on families and small businesses. over those 10 years come at premiums for a family, employer-sponsored coverage more than doubled. small businesses simply couldn't afford it anymore and began dropping coverage. congress had to activate it activate it in passing the football karaites enacted reforms to detain this runaway premium growth are today's hearing will explore how those reforms are already protecting tumors. it's basic economics that one of the surest ways to bring down prices is your open and tough competition. for the first time in our
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history, health reform applies this basic principle to the health insurance market. in 21st income americans in every state will be able to buy health insurance and a one-stop shop called an insurance exchange, so we'll small businesses be able to shop there also. just a couple weeks ago the administration release guidance to give states greater flexibility in designing exchange to meet the sick needs of their citizens. the exchange would bring transparency and competition to market which in many areas have become stagnant and noncompetitive. with high prices to show for it. from 1998 to 2006, just the consolidation of insurance markets allowed accounted for over a premium of about $34 billion each year, equivalent to a $200 annual rate hike or person. that is due to a lack of competition.
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if insurers have to compete on price, rates will come down. indeed the nonpartisan congressional budget office projects that premiums in the small group market will be as much is 2% lower in 2016, about three and $50 per family. in a market where premiums have increased 5% or more annually since 2005. employer spending premiums is estimated to decrease by almost 4%, the $20 billion in a series dollars. by 2019, businesses will save $2000 per family pinscher. the 24th team, families finding the individual market could save an estimated $2300 a year if they buy health insurance and a new affordable insurance exchange. health reform also gives state insurance regulators unprecedented new resources to fight for the owners. a lot allocates $250 million in grants for this purpose.
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almost 50 million in 45 states in the district of columbia. we release a report today to government accountability office requested along with senator feinstein which demonstrates extraordinary work done using these grant funds. these improvements enabled federal grants will empower states to rigorously enforce health reforms great review requirements. as of september the first of this year, just next month, regulators will review proposed rate increases to more than 10% of the individual and small group market. the insurer must publicly disclose and justify the rate increase and that the regular find it's unreasonable, finance will be publicly posted. reforms medical loss of vision is a powerful deterrent against confiscatory premium increases required insurers to provide fair value in return for consumers premiums.
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specifically the lie requires insurers to return to consumers 80 cents of each premium dollar that individual small group market in 85 cents on the dollar in the large group market. if insurers failed to return this amount to consumers because payments for health care services are investments in quality of care, the company has to make up the difference in cash. it's estimated/uribe sergio, 5 million americans will receive 160 and 300 per person. even those who don't reserve rebates will have controlled premiums to stay above the threshold. some of argued that insurers can't beat these requirements, holding them accountable would cripple businesses. while common shares have been reporting quarterly earnings over the last few days. let's take a look at that. for the second quarter of this year, the united health group's net earnings, net earnings before taxes were $1.9 billion.
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that's for the quarter. that's for one quarter. it's not profit was more than $1.2 billion just for that quarter. the executives issued this amendment. in the first ever 20 elevenths united health care service of medical benefits grew by 1.2 million on top of nearly 1 million people added over the course of 2010. the six quarter edition of 2.2 million more people almost entirely through organic means places us among the strongest growth. for a company. they think the united health care can muddle through rave review. i'll just close up a letter he received from an iowa constituent who just received notification of an 18% rate increase by united health care. she writes code, a self-employed professional or preexisting conditions. i now will pay $276 per month
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with a $5000 deductible. a change from a $2500 deductible as sure that premiums are just getting costly. at least this hasn't been a repeat of 2008, when i premium was increased twice that year. that was a 40% premium increase in one year, end quote. so i believe these reforms are long overdue and eyewitnesses have agreed to discuss them. i thank them for coming to washington today and looking forward to their testimony. and i will yield to senator in the. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. today's hearing is to examine how the government can better regulate health insurance premiums. this is unfortunate but entirely predictable response to passage of the new health care loss. as many of my colleagues and i predicted, the new health was driving up premiums for now the authors of the lot are attempting to shift blame. the authors of the new health care law to not want to
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acknowledge the recent premiums are going up is because for the enacted. they would much rather point fingers and insurance companies and lay the blame for premiums on them. unfortunately storyline ignores the basic facts. insurance premiums are going up because health care costs are going up and health care costs go up at least in part because of the new health care luck. don't take my word for it. the administration chief actuary for medicare and medicaid services released last week that premiums are estimated to increase by 9.4% in 2014. according to the actuary, the increase was four and 410 higher than would have otherwise been a result of the new health care law. it should come as no surprise to anyone. more than two years ago the cbo told us that the new health care law was going to increase premiums for individuals and families by 10 to 13%. this equals 21 and they were confirmed by several private studies which i'll predict even
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higher premium increases. we also see validation of statements in the insurance market. "the wall street journal" reported last september several insurers had already requested premium increases between 1% and 9%, specifically to pay for custody benefits required under the new law. rather than confronting reality they created by enacting the new health care luck, it appears authors want to find a scapegoat that can take the blame for these increasing insurance premiums. unfortunately an insurance companies for these increases will do nothing to address problems driving up the cost of health insurance. giving states the federal government authority to deny premium increases will do nothing to address the expensive benefit mandates, billions of dollars in taxes on drugs or medical devices and unsustainable cuts to medicare payments, which were all part of the new health care law and all drive up private-sector health care laws. anyone who thinks insurers will not pass costs on to individuals
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in higher premiums is deluding themselves. as a former business owner myself i can assure you no business consultant product with their cost for very long. you think they can simply because the government mandates it is a recipe for disaster. rather than wasting time and another hearing that shifts the blame for the entirely predictable results of the new health care love, we should instead be focusing on how to address causes of premium increases. we need to examine how specific provisions are increasing premiums and determine how to replace provisions that measures that can lower costs for individuals and small businesses. we also need to annex several provisions that will actually lower health care costs, help employers than allow americans to keep the planes they want, rather than being forced to by the plan the government bureaucrat tanks best meets their needs or apply for waivers. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator enzi.
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first we'd like to welcome her colleague, senator find kind from california, chaired the intelligence committee who does such a superb job they're keeping us advised to terrorist threats and what's going on. senator feinstein also was very active in the passage of the affordable care at and did a lot of work on nights in one area in which senator feinstein did the work was in this whole area of great reviews and making sure consumers have information -- that information. so senator feinstein and i asked the gao to do a report on state review activity, releasing that today, senator feinstein has long championed consumer protections and ensure accountability. i think senator find time for coming here today and for her great work in this area. a cd with a prepared statement
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telling me to purge the record the record in its entirety. you can proceed as you so desire. >> thank you very much, mr. churchman, senator enzi, senator franken, senator murkowski. i have been concerned about the affordability of health insurance. of course as you look at health insurance around the world, you see it that no country has the size of large for-profit radical insurance companies that the united states of america does. if you go further, you see that the 99 the average premiums for family coverage has risen 100 dirty 1% of medical inflation, which should guide this rose to 31%. two years ago in 2009, 57% of people attempting to purchase insurance in the individual market found it difficult or impossible to afford coverage. now as before it the health care
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plan, while the cost of health insurance continues to rise for individuals, insurance companies, particularly for 10 large for-profit companies enjoy unprecedented profits. in the first quarter of this year, 2011, the five largest for-profit health insurance companies recorded a net profit in a quarter of $3.9 billion. that is another 16% increase from the same quarter the year before. ceo paid for the 10 largest for-profit health insurance companies was 228.1 million in 2009, up from 85.5 million the year before 2008. this is a 167% raise in just one year. and this does not include the
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tens of millions of more dollars in exercise stock options and means that the ceos received nearly a billion dollars in total compensation. and here's the key. it could have been used to provide help benefits. i mean, this raises the question to me as to whether america's health insurance should be controlled by for-profit companies rather than by nonprofit companies. at the same time, these insurance companies were reducing the amount they spend on actual medical care. the gao report shows state practices vary widely, even within different markets in the same state. to me, the gao report shows just how fractured the health insurance market continues to be in how consumers are not uniformly protect it remick
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regis rate increases. i believe that what should be standardized as the authority to block or modify unjustified, unreasonable premium rate increases. i strongly believe each state insurance commissioner or regulators should not only be able to look at insurance rate filings and evaluate them thoroughly prior to implementation, which this gao report out with, but that he or she should also possess authority to block or modify those rates that are egregious. to evaluate the raids and have no authority to reduce or stop those found to be unjustified makes the state insurance commissioner sent away a paper tiger. the department of health and human services reports that as of december 2010, less than half of states and territories have
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the legal authority to reject excessive rates. the kaiser family foundation report at least 17 states, including my own, california, state regulators do not possess the authority to block or modify premium rate prior to implementation. the health reform not actually takes critical first steps to help control premium increases and insurance companies spend more on medical care nonprofits. the grants provided to states to improve rate review processes have helped insure more information is available about all rate increases. however, the law does not grant the health reform law, does not grant explicit authority to modify or block egregious rate increases. this is a loophole, which is lighter in health reform i introduced legislation to authorize the secretary of
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health and human services to block or modify unjustified premium increases. in states where the regulator does not have that authority. the health insurance rate review at 2011 is pending in this house and they like bill is also pending in the house of representatives. these bills create a federal fallback rate review process that grants the secretary of health and human services authority to block or modify rate increases that are excessive, unjustified or unfairly discriminatory in those states where there is not appropriate authority. this legislation is a simple common sense solution and we almost got it included in the bill, but we did not. and so since then, what is happening is these big
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for-profit companies are raising rates forever they can, sometimes once a year, sometimes twice a year and sent his three times a year. in 2010, i received over 1700 letters from constituents, pleading with me to help them with their skyrocketing insurance rates. now, in california, the state insurance commissioner has reviewed some filings. dave disapproved 14 -- well, they were withdrawn or negotiated to overrate. so 6% were modified. i suspect that if california regulators had appropriate legal authority, and many more than 14 rate filings would have been modified or withdrawn in 2010.
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when they give you an example of why the review of rate filings is not sufficient and why i believe authority to block or modify as necessary. just about everyone i think is familiar with the increases that had the blue cross was set to impose in february of 2010, as much as 39% for 800,000 policyholders in california. and in california, i should say a couple of these companies essentially controlled the major medical insurance market said that as he spoke, mr. chairman, there is a competitive competition there might be otherwise. and that was not enough duration. insurance companies have continued to propose 30, 40 and even 80% cumulative premium
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increases. we have a bill pending his name is david jones. he's been successful in getting some of these big companies to reduce or cancel their premium increases. recently, a member of insurance companies were set to impose premium increases in my state, some as much as 80% cumulatively. commissioner jones requested a delay of increases until he had a chance to review them and the insurance companies complied. after review of pressure from hand, anthem blue cross agreed to scale back planned rate hikes from 16.4% to 9.1% or 600,000 individual policies in the department of insurance into delayed implementation of these headaches. but here's the catch. anthem blue cross also serves individual policyholders through the department of managed health
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care in california for over 120,000 californians they receive blue cross insurance through this department, rates rose an average of 16% on may 1 of this year. the department of managed health care deemed these increases unreasonable, but they don't have the authority to block them. this means that the same company scaled back reads for some policyholders, but not others and i don't think that makes sense. on page 43 of the gao or, in the appended are general comments at the department of health and human services on the government accountability office says draft report. for too long, insurance companies have increased health insurance premiums with little
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oversight transparency or public accountability. health insurance premiums have doubled on average, much faster than wages and inflation putting out of reach for millions of americans. as recently as december 2010, fewer than half of the states and territories have the legal authority to reject a proposed increase if the increase was excessive, lacked justification or fail to meet other state standards. additionally, many states that authority? the resources need to exercise it meaningfully. this lack of authority and resources for states have contributed to unjustified premium increases. and then it announces starting in september of this year, 2011, hhs is requiring that all
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non-grandfathered insurers seeking rate increases of 10% or more in the individual and small group markets publicly disclose the proposed increase is an justification for them. disclosing proposed increases along with the insurers justification sheds light on industry pricing practices that some experts have led -- i've been led to believe -- have led to unnecessarily high rates. this transparency in the health insurance market will help promote competition, encourage insurers to work towards controlling health care costs and discourage insurers from charging unjustified premiums. and then it goes on to talk about the affordable care act. i think this is in major step forward, mr. chairman. we worked with the health
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department to try to get the rate review authority as part of the bill. we failed to lobbying by the big insurance companies obviously wasn't 10, but suffice it to say we have a problem that's out of control and a lot of people suffering for it and we have a reduction in the number of people covered by this insurance because people could no longer afford the premiums. whether they are doing this just because they know in 2014 the health insurance latkes into play and therefore they want to recover as much as they can before that are simply there going to raise rates as best they can to flesh out the bottom line. they think is just as simple as that. we conclude with us. a man by the name of ts three were at a health care all over
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the nation, probably members of this committee have read it. and he concludes that no nation on earth has really been able to reform health insurance with large for-profit insurance industry. that may continue to be a problem, but i just want to thank you for watching this carefully because our people have to be able to be covered. i wish you could get this rate review through. i thank you for your support of it and you know, i wish the other side of the aisle and ranking member as he has always been fair. we worked together on other matters, but this one really cries out for watching them for taking action to see the premium rates are truly justified. i thank you for the opportunity to testify. >> senator feinstein, thank y


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